tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC March 18, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
with terrorists. the right wing's viciousness has become so predictable that it's almost mundane. look, maybe we're not their audience. they have a few people they want something to do about it. and that's why they keep drilling it to their heads. that's unacceptable. they'll say, no one could have seen it coming. all right, that's our show. thank you for watching. "hardball" starts right now. >> to the shores of tripoli. let's play hardball. chris mathews in washington. leading off tonight, war on gadhafi. that's what western nations want to see from libya's muammar gadhafi who announced the immediate cease-fire after the u.n. voted to strike against his forces. no indication yet that the so-called cease-fire is anything more than a delaying tactic
designed to keep the west out while gadhafi's forces planned to wipe out rebels. they were cheering and firing celebration shots in the air when hearing that the u.n. is coming. a report from richard engle who's heading to the area. plus, what country is going to take charge? what role will the u.s. play? and did the u.n. vote come too late to stop gadhafi? will gadhafi fight for the death or accept some kind of deal. answer those questions as we prepare to fight in a third muslim country. and japanese authorities have raised the assessment of a nuclear disaster to a five -- that's three mile island level on a seven-point scale and they now more or less at mitt they're overwhelmed. they're employing a throw against the wall and see what sticks approach in the nuclear commission. it says it can take weeks to get this thing under control. score one for the unions in wisconsin. the judge has temporarily blocked the new law shrinking collective bargaining rights in that state. wow, democrats hope this is the
first of many obstacles. republicans say, it's just a speed bump, check it out. let me finish with libya. we know how we're getting in. but do you have any idea how we're going to get out? we start on libya. richard engle is joining us from cairo. thank you, richard, give us a sense of what's happening as the u.n. begins to take action. what is the condition of the rebel force especially in benghazi? >> the rebel force is very weak in benghazi and across the country. what happened was, the rebels advanced very quickly. they took benghazi almost by surprise. and then as they were riding this wave of enthusiasm, they decided to leave their strong hold, benghazi. they went out to places like ajdabiya. they went to the open desert. they overextended the supply lines, they got stopped by gadha gadhafi's forces. they consolidated in benghazi.
and they're hoping with air cover with this no-fly zone they can regain momentum and topple gadhafi's regime. >> why were they shooting shots of celebration in the air when they heard of the u.n. vote? >> they think the u.n. vote levels the playing field right now. that gadhafi's forces won't be able to come in and carry out a massacre. there were people in benghazi, there have been every night, who are terrified that tonight is going to be the night that there will be some sort of chemical attack. that there will be a massive artillery attack, an air raid, and the international community will sit back and watch and tolerate it. now the international community, including the united states and europe, are saying that it is not acceptable and if there is a -- a massacre or an incident like that, that there would be an immediate military response. >> let me ask you to give me your assessment, richard, of what it means to say that the
united states has unique capabilities. this is what the president said a few hours ago. this is what they said. this is something to try to figure out right now. here he is, the president. >> we will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bare to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our european airlines and arab partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone. >> that's the question. we've got the air power. is that what he means? >> it's not just air power. the u.s. -- what does the u.s. have uniquely? and it's not our charm and our ability to make apple pie. there are some unique capacities that the u.s. has. intelligence, satellites, aircraft carriers, important for any no-fly zone. some cover. he used the word "enablers." the u.s. can provide the platform for a sustained air cover over libya, that the
european countries simply do not have. it's not just the fighter jets, it's all of the support mechanisms, the u.s. has more aircraft carriers compared to the rest of the world combined. >> is it going to be the operations where it has the u.n. insignia or the cover for the commission essentially led by the u.s. is that where we're headed at this point again? >> what i think we could be headed for is a long operation where you have the rebels in the east in benghazi, gadhafi in tripoli and in the west to a degree. and the international community with the west involved trying to level the playing field. if you level the playing field in a country where the two sides are separated by 600, 700 miles of open desert, you could have a situation where the u.s. is preventing massacres but allowing a low-level civil war to take place that could go on for years. so this involvement could not be -- might not be quick.
it might be a very, very long sustained operation more like what we saw in the balkans. >> what happens if gadhafi is smart and he observes the u.n. rule, which is basically, don't go after civilians and simply says, all right, i'm going to allow all civilians who want to leave benghazi to leave. it'm going to let you leave. i'm going to have a san toir corridor where they're allowed to leave, total safety. other countries, the chinese, everybody is coming in there. they can come in and watch that. i'm going to be proper here. i'm going after the rebels. what stops him from doing that. i'm going after my rebels. in my country, you have not had any sanction or any mandate to stop that. >> i think you were on the phone with his strategist. that's what his strategy will be.
as i was preparing for this live shot, the foreign minister was saying that he wants international monitors to come in. they are urgently calling for people from around the world to come not only to tripoli, but across libya to see what's happening on the ground. and if there's an armed conflict, the libyan government has the right to defend itself. if they are right and there are combatants not a democratic movement of students, the rebels do have weapons, they're not advanced, but they do have weapons. under any kind of international charter, a government has the right to defend itself. that strategy of opening a humanitarian corridor, but certainly calling for international observers to say, hey, we're not just killing civilians. we are fighting armed militants and the world is open to see that. that's the next step and the step that it's calling for. >> the libyan deputy foreign minister have put out a quote,
quote, crimes against humanity are by the rebels. is he trying to get the world opinion to modify itself and give him some leeway to go after the rebels? >> he is. he's talking about how the rebels are desecrating the bodies of the people he has been capturing and how the rebels have been taken prisoners. i've seen prisoners that have been captured by the rebels. and he's trying to get the world to see that gadhafi is not just crushing a bunch of unarmed student protesters like had been the case in egypt and yemen today, that it's an armed insurrection and any country in the world has the right to defend against an armed insurrection. there was a civil war in the united states. the north didn't want the soult to break
-- south to break way, the u.s. fought to keep the union. >> can you detect a conflict between the secretaries of state and defense. a few days ago, it seems that the secretary of defense showed out a role not to get in a war in the middle east again. you would have to be out of your mind. you would have to have your head examined to do it. here we are leading what looks like a u.n. effort to go into another arab country, perhaps not on the ground, but we're going in by air with everything we've got, it looks like. my question, is there a conflict in doctrine here between hillary clinton, the secretary of state, and bob gates? >> i'm not privy to the conversations themselves. there seems to be a contradiction, if you don't want to get in a war, don't conduct yourselves in an international no-fly zone. the u.s. doesn't want to sit
back idly by and allow a massacre to happen. the u.s. has experience with gadhafi. the u.s. knows what the regime in libya is capable of doing without international action. and without specifically u.s. action. the president said tonight there is every reason to believe without international action or the threat of action that gadhafi would carry out atrocities against his people. that's certainly what the people of benghazi do believe, and i think that the u.s. and the president felt this moral obligation to at least use the threat of force and probably back it up if those atrocities take place, but not to launch a ground war to go in and remove gadhafi themselves. that's why i think this should could be a very protracted conflict with the u.s. providing this kind of balancing act to keep the two sides fighting a fair conflict and a fair conflict in libya where you have the rebels and benghazi and gadhafi in tripoli and the armed
forces somewhat neutralized or put on the shelf could take a long time. >> thank you very much. great reporting as always. richard engle in cairo tonight. up next, what will the u.n. resolution against libya mean for us? are we going to take the lead in lib libya? are we fighting another war in a muslim country. how much of this is going to be an american war. that's a big question as we go to the weekend. we're going to try to answer it in the next few minutes. watching "hardball" on msnbc. i want to be clear on what we will not be doing. the united states is not going to deploy ground troops in to libya. and we are not going to use force to go beyond a well-defined goal. specifically, the protection of civilians in lib yeah. -- libya. ♪
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obviously the united states is pleased with yesterday's vote. it sent a strong message that needs to be heated. the efforts by the international community to come together to make clear to colonel gadhafi that he cannot continue violence against his own people. they cannot continue the attack that started out by peacefully demonstrating for changes that are within the right of any
human being. >> well there you have it. secretary clinton. welcome back to hardball. secretary clinton today. what's next? the representative to the united nations, national securities reporter mark thompson. let me ask you -- i read two things at the same time. one through the united states through the president reading a particular u.n. resolution. we're going with a no-fly zone and some other efforts to protect civilianles. i hear the secretary of state there with a firm voice saying we're going after gadhafi. the president allows that. are we going to enforce the u.n. resolution to protect civilians or are we going to topple gadhafi piece-by-piece. >> he will not pay attention to the resolution. >> so he can hit them harder. >> i would expect so. >> so what we're doing is starting on base one -- first base, heading for home run. we want to go all around the bases. we'll start with this
resolution. here's my question, he'll say i'll observe the resolution. i'll not go after civilians. i'll let them leave benghazi. you can't go beyond the resolution. you'll be hamstrung, i'll survive. what happen ifs he does -- >> he can't survive if he backs away like that. he's got to still maintain that image of being all powerful. otherwise he loses -- he's got a whole group of people that are ready to come after him if he -- he's made a lot of enemies. so i don't think he can afford to back down in the face of international pressure. >> more of secretary clinton today on the cease-fire. let's watch. >> we've seen press reports of a cease-fire by the libyan government. this is a fluid and dynamic situation. we are going to be not responsive or impressed by words. we would have to see actions on the ground. and that is not yet at all
clear. >> that's the look of hillary clinton, commander in chief. did you get a sense there she was president a few minutes there. not knocking it. does she look strong? >> looks like she knows what she's doing. she doesn't want gadhafi there five more minutes. the president is operatelinging -- operating in a balancing act. she knows what she's doing. i'm getting rid of gadhafi. she's much more hawkish. >> she made clear today she didn't know where it was going to end up. the president did not say that today. >> he said it. why say it again? >> he would like to have the clout behind him. >> if he says that, he's acting like he's ignoring the limited nature of the u.n. resolution. >> they don't have egypt or saudi arabia on their side in this effort. they don't have the u.s. congress behind them. the military people i'm talking to are very -- >> i thought the egyptians are
arming the rebels. >> they are in this question. >> the no-fly zone -- are the young people, the people in their 20s and 30s sitting in the cafes in damascus and cairo, are they rooting for us to go in there and whack this guy or are they going to root against the fellow arab in the u.s.? >> rootdi inrooting for us righ >> explain. >> this is a different generation. gadhafi represents the generation of their fathers and the 70-year-old leaders of the arab world. they want new change, a new generation to come in and take over. >> even if it means the west toppling their guys? >> yeah, but even the arab league has come out in favor of -- >> i don't -- i'll play devil's advocate. because i am a devil, the fact of the matter is. what are we doing? do we see people screaming for the united states to come in i don't see the arab streets revoting saying we must have the west come in.
>> the arab street? we have trouble in yemen and in bahrain. we're not getting involved there, interestingly enough, they are our allies. plainly, as the ambassador says, this is not a nationalist thing, it's a generational thing. >> let me ask you, where do you think the u.s. policy is taking us in the next couple of weeks? regarding hillary and the president. >> we are on the edge of a slippery slope. someone in the pentagon told me that the president has tunnel vision, but he has funnel vision. we're being sucked in and we're not sure where it's going to end up. >> that's what i think. >> who said this? who's this smart person? >> what do you think? do you think we're being suck in to a funnel vision? are we going more and more to this quick sand of the middle east again in to more and more of a role of war. >> if hillary has her way, yes. she's not going to put up with a repeat or replay of rwanda. >> you're one of those. bill clinton and hillary clinton
afraid of -- >> absolutely. >> that's a pregnant thought. here's more from president obama today. let's listen. >> it is not an action we will pursue alone. indeed, our british and french allies and members of the arab league have already committed to taking a leadership role in the enforcement of this resolution hjust as they were instrumental in pursuing it. we're coordinating closely with them. this is precisely how the international community should work. more nations bare both the responsibility and the kos ofco international law. >> that's sanitary. he's talking like a member of the united nations observing the resolution. are we more dramatic in what we intend to do. no more rwandas, no more genocide s secretary of state clinton is leading the fight, they believe it's a big mistake not going in somewhere, you say we're going in because of her and their view.
>> if there's a massacre citizens of benghazi, the president will never live it down. >> oh, live it down. >> i think that's right. i think that's right. that's part of the problem the president finds himself in. the resolution is number 1973. ironic, as you well know, that's the year of the war powers resolution. >> i don't know that. >> now you do. >> oh. >> we're going in without any congressional support. so for example, the u.s. pilot were to be shot down or if they were to be massacre in benghazi, the president would be in deep quick stand. >> thank you. up next, the crisis in libya to the crisis of japan, the big story. the nuclear crisis in japan is worse than three-mile hours. the latest on the effort to stop an all-out meltdown which is a seven. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] a chicken coop:
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welcome back to hardball. japan is increasing the disaster there to a five on a seven-point scale. the crisis now even surpassed three-mile island. that's the standard. there it is on the score on the grid. time is running out. workers raced to avoid a full-blown met meltdown and more of the situation in the nuclear problem, the former senior nuclear power plant operator. and david albright, a former nuclears inspector and president for the institute of science international security. well, michael, let's go to the whole question. what does it mean to go to five? >> probably the more relevant point is is that it's a three-mile island. the real bottom line here is that we have a situation where the nuclear complex has been
compromised as a result of a station blackout. the reactors had a very limited cooling for some period of time, and have released some form of their nuclear radioactivity and the -- the issue that makes this similar to three-mile island is the style of the reactor. the thing that makes it more complex is the fact that we do not have one reactor that's affected here, we have four, plus a very large spent fuel cord. >> what's your worry now that it's released five -- is that going to head upwards in terms of horror? >> the real core issue, no pun intended, is to get power restored to the facility. tepco has been able to run in lines from the neighboring facility and getting power is crucial to getting us out of the woods here. >> does that mean the pumps will work?
>> stable -- and once we get power restored, things will recover quite quickly. >> are you confident that the power restored would mean the pump's activated? >> the safety systems in the power flants are designed to withstand the seismic event. i'm quite hopeful -- they have redundant safety systems in each facility. i'm relatively confident that once they get power restored and start recovering the systems in a systematic fashion, they should be able to cobble together a series of pieces of equipment that would enable them to get out of this. >> let me go back to david. david, let me ask you about the question of where this -- are we looking at basically years and years of dead zone in japan? around these facilities, no matter where it goes from now. is it where they're living and working? >> most of the radiation has gone out to sea. and there's been significant
releases and you can see it in some of the readings that are in one. most of the time the radiation is going out to sea. the site itself is going to have to be carefully monitored. there's so many reactors that will have to be entombed. >> and that means surrounded by concrete? >> concrete, yeah. but the -- but the area -- there's not a lot of information in the amount of chemicals in the environment. that will be the key indicator on how much land is contamina d contaminated. >> translate this to the normal worries. people are watching programs on this all over the country in every network is they think it's an object lesson in the use of nuclear weapon and the use of technology and worried that japan will have the influence on the people there and also the people there. >> radiation causes dread and people are worried about getting cancer and other illnesses. >> should they be?
>> they should be, but not in this case in the united states. >> how about over there? >> they didn't evacuate as many people as the u.s. recommended. the dose rates i've been looking at them for a couple of days, i think the united states made the right decision. >> 51. >> 50. >> 19. >> wasn't good enough. >> should be careful. decide to be careful with this. and one of the reasons that you're careful with this is we have higher assurance that they're not going to face it later. >> we're getting word that the japanese government has gotten to the point that it's overcoming the pride and setting the lines for which the japanese are famous and helping for help on the outside. what about it? is it a failure on their part to do what they needed help to do? >> chris, i think one thing the japanese certainly don't need me to apologize for them. but we've got to remember that outside of the nuclear complex itself, they were dealing with a
catastrophe of biblical proportions and this catastrophe would have overwhelmed virtually any organization in the world, i believe. i certainly -- there's no doubt that kind of on a going forward basis, we have to recognize that in a catastrophe that they should have asked for help earlier. there's no doubt. >> the tsunami was overwhelming is what you're saying. they should have seen it. >> the event -- the disaster -- in some cases we know that they were literally moved using bulldozers to clear rooms in order to bring in emergency crews to the nuclear facilitfac >> okay, gentlemen, thank you for coming in. have a good weekend. see you next week. david albright. >> caught on camera. caught on camera, the disaster in japan. coming up, the crisis in japan entered the nuclear energy in
i'm milissa rehberger. here's what's happening. muammar gadhafi is not abiding by a cease-fire response by a u.n. security official authorized by a no-fly zone. 50 demonstrators were killed by snipers firing from roof tops in an anti-government protest. in japan, the situation is holding steady at fukushima with military fire trucks spraying tons of water on the damaged reactors to try to keep them from overheating.
meanwhile, the u.s. officials are denying reports that dangerous fallout has reached american shores. tests in california did detect radiation but it would have to be about a billion times stronger to pose a health risk. back to hardball. part of the energy future along with wind, solar, natural gas, and clean coal. >> welcome back to hardball. president obama made clear despite the japanese disaster, nuclear power would be part of the mix. he added that it would review the disaster to redouble safety efforts here. let's listen. >> nuclear power plants have undergone exhaustive study and have been declared safe for any number of extreme contingencies.
but when we see a crisis like the one in japan, we have a responsibility to learn from this event and draw from the lessons to secure the safety and security of our people. >> what's japan's nuclear disaster mean for the future of nuclear power here in the u.s.? ann thompson is chief and msnbc correspondent and the safe industry advocate for the u.s. public interest group and opposes nuclear power. we have 104 plants in the united states. how safe are they? >> well, that's what the government is going to try to find out. i can give you one little facto factoid, chris. 93 of those plants only have backup battery capability for four hours. 11 of those plants have backup battery capability for eight hours. eight hours is what japan required and it was not nearly enough as we have seen because
first of all the diesel generators that were supposed to power the cooling systems were wiped out by the tsunami. they went to the battery packs. they only lasted eight hours and they have this horrible situation on our hands. and now i think much like the bp situation which is what you're going to see here is a review of safety precautions and probably stricter standards for the nuclear plants to live up to to make sure that they are indeed as safe as they claim. >> your view on this subject? what do we do as americans faced with our -- well, gluttony for energy. no one in the world uses as much energy as we do. diesel, nuclear to fire our generators. what do we do to get rid of nuclear? >> that's a great question. the situation in japan really does underscore that nuclear power is inherently dangerous and it's impossible to make a nuclear reactor fail safe. so as we move forward, we have
to ask ourselves whether we're willing to have what's happening in japan happen here in the united states. and if the answer to that question is no, then we have to reject nuclear power and transition to safer alternatives. >> well, people get on airplanes all the time knowing that there's a chance the plane will crash because it's a way to get somewhere to somewhere else quickly and over land it would take most of your life to do it. so it comes down to the question again of efficiency and options. what are the options to nuclear weapons -- to -- there's a mistake. to nuclear energy? what's the option? i understand what you're saying. we're in the same fish bowl now. if we all see the same thing, we're going to have to make the choice. and the choice will have to be somewhat democratic. are there american people willing to give up the energy demands we're making now in the short term until we find something better than nuclear? >> america has the ingenuity and innovation and talent to transition to a safe energy
future. then the energy -- the safe energy resource are at our fingerprints. we need to tap them. for example, by improving efficiency over the course of the next 20 years or so, we could free up as much electricity as generated in 100 nuclear power plants in this country. and then just look at the vast safe energy resources that exist in this country. we have offshore wind potential off of the coast of virginia. there's enough wind that blows across the great plains to power the entire united states. and the sun is constantly shining on vast portions of arizona and nevada. >> do we have the base load and capacity to do that? can we load up the capacity? can we get the wind and hold, it store it? >> no. >> that's our problem. i understand your advocacy. i fully appreciate it. >> go to ann, look at it objectively. is there any way to see it -- the alternative to the near term to nuclear in this country? >> there's no immediate
alternative, chris. and especially if we're going to transition to a clean energy economy. look, we do have great wind resources. and we have great solar resources. but the problem is that they are not what's called base loader on demand energy sources. you don't have access to them 24 hours a day. and they -- and we still haven't figured out a way to build batteries big enough to store that energy. so that's one problem. clean coal -- doesn't exist today. coal is not a clean technology as it exists today. they are working on something that's called carbon resources. there's a plant over in germany that's doing that. but the u.s. doesn't exist. and nuclear power makes up about 20% of our energy needs. and unless we're either willing to go on an energy diet or willing to burn more coal or do something else, nuclear is still going to be part of our energy equation. >> let's go back to johanna.
what do you think of president obama and his policy on nuclear? i noticed that -- i've been following the democrats all these years. until recently, they were very anti-nuclear. seems like with so much with energy, their recognition of depending on middle east oil and the dirtiness of coal, they come back to it and say, okay, that's the least of all of it right now. it's the worst, perhaps. but what do you think of the president's position. >> he's ordered a comprehensive safety assessment at the 104 nuclear reactors operating in the united states. that's certainly a prudent first step. but right now, nuclear is an industry in the united states that's been fitted from 40 years of government welfare. right now, there are $36 billion in taxpayer subsidies going to nuclear industry. we would like to see that redirected to truly safe sources of energy like energy efficiency and wind and solar. and the other point, chris, is that wall street won't touch
nuclear power with a ten-foot pole whereas you have venture capital firms and entities like google making real investments in the clean source. >> the bottom line is you can't insure it, is it? you have to have a -- it's the bottom line. if nuclear were safe, you could get an insurance policy on it. you can't. >> that's exactly right. >> that's why the obama administration has stepped up last year and issued an $8 billion loan guarantee for the building of two new nuclear reactors in wans borrow, georgia. for that very reason. but i can also tell you i know a solar panel manufacturer who could not get financing either in this country. and he used to buy his solar panels in this country. he buys them in china because he can get financing in china. so it's very -- in the alternative energy world, it's very difficult to get financing. >> the bottom line is that we'll spend a lot of effort in solar and wind in the next 30 years.
we're going to have the way to store it and have the capacity. thanks for educating us. this is one of the few times we're going to pay attention to this. it's the horror -- the worst horror coming. thank you in london. up next, a judge in wisconsin temporarily blocked the big new law that the governor got through and the legislature got through shrinking collective bargaining rights to employees to practically nothing. is this the beginning of the end to the new republican law or a bump in the road? the democrats are more hopeful that it's the death nail in this thing. we'll see. it's all about whether they did it right. the 24-hour rule. can they obey or dissipate. this is "hardball" on msnbc. [ female announcer ] sometimes you need tomorrow to finish what you started today. for the aches and sleeplessness in between, there's motrin pm.
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well, just when you thought sarah palin wasn't running for president, off she goes on a world tour. her first stop will be india where she will share her vision of america. can't wait for that one. then on monday, she'll be in israel where she'll meet prime minister netanyahu and other members of the likhud party. she's going to hold a town hall meeting to tell us all she's learned. we'll be right back. [ wind howling ] [ technician ] are you busy? management just sent over these new technical manuals. they need you to translate them into portuguese.
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anti-union law from taking effect. the union issue is a rallying point on the basis of both political parties. how do the judges overrule the politics of big labor. there's a phrase -- big labor. it's bolstering. howard fineman is senior editor of the huffing ton post. and susan page is the bureau chief for "usa today"." howard, you first. a circuit court judge says you didn't obey the rules. these committees -- before they vote in and bring something to the floor like this, shrinking, has to have a 24-hour waiting period. a little sunshine law there. it's not observed. >> a temporary restraining order. remains to be seen what this court and other courts might do. but the longer this thing is at the center of debate in wisconsin, the more likely it is to become, i think, a big issue in the national campaign now, and in 2012. >> define the issue. how big of an issue is it. >> two ways. the republicans wants to define
it as greed. the public employees, karl roaf has a new add out. >> let's watch the ad. you bring these up. you're killing me. part of the ad. karl rove's cross roads gps group. it's airingbuy, not on this network. >> why did a kmat congressman say. >> you got to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary. >> why are democrats shutting down state cap tolls? to a system that collects hundreds in mandatory dues. >> they made phone calls for me. they turned out the vote for me. >> who is that aimed at? >> voters in swing states. >> that don't have big union representation to begin with, who may be right to work states that don't have collective bargaining laws, and aimed at swing voters worried about
government spending and want to blame somebody, would rather blame unions than themselves. >> what's going on? >> puts real swing voters at risk. republicans will presumably win red states. you talk about purple states, wisconsin and ohio, we know from polling in both states a majority of voters support collective bargaining rights for public employees, although they may want to entail some of the costs of the pension plan. >> polls say scott walker was lose to his democratic if the election was held today. in ohio, republican governor john kasich would lose to his opponent by 15 points. >> here is the thing. >> i love to say that, show a poll -- >> some states like virginia and north carolina, president obama as a candidate won last time. this ad is aimed at swing voters
in those states, states like colorado and so forth. the thing about the states susan was talking about like ohio and pennsylvania and michigan and illinois, they have high percentages of unionize union employees, and government jobs are key to those economies, cities like my hometown of pittsburgh or cincinnati, cleveland, or st. louis or detroit, government jobs, whether healthcare jobs or government worker jobs or teacher's jobs are the only jobs there are in a lot of places, so people have a different attitude. they are not going to attack public employees because public jobs are hope for everybody in those places. >> pittsburgh, education -- >> education, healthcare, government workers as well. >> this question, i think key voters in every election are suburbanites who a lot of them left the city and aren't organized. the inner suburb that decides,
used to call them sears roebuck, regular people, do they like unions? >> not always. often they don't like unions. but do they like teachers, firefighters, police officers, yes, they like those. these are voters we know are very concerned about spending, the debt, the deficit. but they are nervous about the idea that these republican governors in big midwestern states are going too far. a lot of them voted for barack obama, think he went too far one direction. these republican governors are at risk of doing the same thing. >> i think it has to do with rights, too. my question, the american people gradually give rights to women to vote, to african-americans, but then they don't want to take it back. once you get it, you sort of hold? >> right. >> you have a right to strike. >> that's a question of collective bargaining, whether people can freely associate to bargain with their employer. it took a generation or two to establish in the united states. >> why is that. >> if the democrats can frame it as they are in wisconsin to some
success as an attack on a basic american right to collective bargaining, which most americans believe in, even if they don't belong to a union, then i think the democrats win. >> ronald reagan's fight with air traffic controllers, they said this can work for republicans. >> that was a wild cat strike by public employees complaining not about pay but work conditions. they didn't like their jobs. >> people do think, a lot of people see those public workers in a different category than private sector. i take this field that you -- that the collective bargaining rights argument is slightly different for public sector. >> thank you, howard fineman, susan page. when we finish, big questions about the pending action, military action in libya. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] if you have type 2 diabetes,
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let me finish tonight with this third war front in the islamic world. here we are again with a president explaining why we are beginning military hostilities, not how we are going to end them. the definition here is of a no fly zone into protecting civilians. that's very united nations, very danty. it needs to be understood now before the escalation starts. why? because if we take steps that we assume leads to more steps by gadhafi, further steps by us in response, let's decide where we are headed with this now, figure
out on whose authority here and in the region we are headed that way. can we escalate the conflict on the basis of what gadhafi refuses to do? increase the fire power against him and the means of delivery depending on his hostility against the rebels? are we counting on this to continue on our own desired policy of getting him gone? are we simply anticipating that -- allows us to take the mandate to our goal of getting rid of a death spot we don't like. we have to hear about a number of questions. why does the united states and europe assume a right about the middle east? would we be doing what we are doing in south america, in south africa, asia? where in the middle east would we presuming to challenge a despot on the challenge of his own people. is it the people of middle east give us this special dispensation to enforce our will in the region? is there